Nemanja Matic confirms his move to Chelsea FC as he bids farewell  to Benfica, while Gael Kakuta heads the other way.


On his way back to Stamford Bridge. [Courtesy: Chelseatrueblue(dot)com]

Chelsea were expected to have a fairly quite January transfer window, but that has all changed in the last few hours. Nemaja Matic is set to return to Stamford Bridge after undergoing his medical in London today. Matic was earlier signed by Chelsea back in 2009, but after being loaned out to Vitesse, he eventually failed to make a mark on the first team. The Serbian international was sold to Benfica in 2011 in a swap deal which saw David Luiz arrive at the London club.

The 25-year-old has been in sensational form at Benfica and was part of the side which came close to winning the league last year, eventually losing out to Porto by a narrow margin. The Portuguese club also reached the final of the Europa League, where they lost out to Chelsea. Matic did receive individual recognition though as he was voted the Primeira Liga player of the year 2012-13.

Benfica are leading the domestic league once again this season, but reports suggest that the Portuguese club has run into financial trouble, which has forced them to part way with Matic for £20.7 million, despite him have a € 45 million buy-out clause in his contract. This will be a wonderful deal for the London club, especially considering the price tag. Chelsea do have a lot of depth in the midfield, but there were some concerns in finding the right pair for the pivot in front of the defence for Mourinho. Lampard is heading towards the end of his career at Stamford Bridge, while Mikel hasn’t been consistent enough. Essien is clearly on his way out of London and Ramires has been the only consistent performer in that role. Matic could prove to be the perfect partner for the Brazilian in the pivot and boost Chelsea’s title challenge this season.

Reports suggest that Matic has signed a five and half year contract with the Blues and the deal is expected to be announced tomorrow. The midfielder has also confirmed this move in a recent interview and has bid farewell to Benfica.

“Yes, it was my last game. I want to thank all the people at the club and all the supporters. Benfica will be forever in my heart. I played here for two and a half years, I gave my best in every practice session, every game, and now is the right time to leave. I want to improve, I want to go to a better league and want to play for Chelsea, a club which I also like.

“I also thank the president of Benfica, who did everything he could to keep me here but I have wanted to leave and insisted on leaving. I respect the effort made ​​to keep me at Benfica, and all the people of Benfica were very good to me, made ​​me happy, but I repeat that I insisted on going out as I feel that the time is right.” – The Serbian international said.

It is also believed that Gael Kakuta is on his way to Benfica as a part of this deal. The Frenchman will sign on loan with the Portuguese club, which partly explains the low fee involved in this transfer.